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UAB stays in-house to fill another coaching vacancy

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Twice this offseason, Bill Clark stayed in-house to fill vacancies on his UAB coaching staff.  For a third time, he’s taken a similar tack.

According to al.com, Clark has promoted Xavier Robinson to be the Blazers’ defensive backs coach.  Robinson had been the football program’s strength & conditioning coach since 2014.

The assistant will fill the spot on the nine-man staff opened up by the departure of Duwan Walker, who stepped down as UAB’s defensive coordinator last month to enter private business.  Clark subsequently promoted defensive line coach David Reeves to coordinator.

Reeves will continue to coach the line as well.

Also last month, Clark announced that Trey Clark had been promoted to offensive line coach.  Clark replaced Mike Bennefield, who stepped down in mid-May to spend more time with his family.

UAB returns to the playing field in 2017, although the Blazers are assembling a squad and will practice together this fall.

Michigan, Ohio State as co-B1G favorites among Bovada conference title odds

25 Nov 1995:  General view of a game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Michigan won the game, 31-23. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport
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You know how I know we’re getting closer to the start of the 2016 season?  I look at the calendar, of course.  Well, that and another batch of odds being released by a Las Vegas book.

Bovada.lv has once again served as the releaser, with the oddsmaker releasing its conference championship odds.   Last year’s title game participants, Alabama and Clemson, are solidly(ish) favored to win the SEC and ACC, respectively, while a College Football Playoff semifinalist, Oklahoma, is set as the overwhelming favorite to claim the Big 12.

One of the more interesting set of odds comes from another Power Five conference.

In the Big Ten East, two-time defending division winner Ohio State is listed as a 1/1 favorite, slightly ahead of rival Michigan at 5/4.  That’s for the division championship; when it comes to the overall conference championship, Bovada has the Buckeyes and Wolverines listed as co-favorites at 7/4.  Those numbers are well ahead of the next B1G squad, 2015 CFP semifinalist Michigan State (7/1), with all of those odds for the conference further illustrating how little is thought of the B1G West.

Below are the complete set of conference championship odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the AAC Championship
Houston 1/1
South Florida 7/2
Cincinnati 11/2
Temple 15/2
Memphis 11/1
Navy 11/1
UConn 20/1
East Carolina 33/1
Tulsa 33/1
SMU 75/1
Central Florida 100/1
Tulane 200/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the ACC Atlantic Division
Clemson 10/11
Florida State 5/4
Louisville 6/1
NC State 14/1
Boston College 40/1
Syracuse 50/1
Wake Forest 50/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the ACC Coastal Division
Miami 3/2
Pittsburgh 3/1
Virginia Tech 3/1
North Carolina 17/4
Georgia Tech 10/1
Duke 20/1
Virginia 40/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the ACC Championship
Clemson 3/2
Florida State 9/4
Miami 9/1
Louisville 10/1
North Carolina 10/1
Pittsburgh 14/1
Virginia Tech 14/1
Georgia Tech 16/1
NC State 20/1
Duke 40/1
Syracuse 75/1
Virginia 75/1
Wake Forest 75/1
Boston College 100/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Big Ten East Division
Ohio State 1/1
Michigan 5/4
Michigan State 6/1
Penn State 101
Indiana 33/1
Maryland 33/1
Rutgers 50/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Big Ten West Division
Iowa 1/1
Nebraska 2/1
Wisconsin 4/1
Northwestern 9/1
Minnesota 14/1
Illinois 25/1
Purdue 33/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Big Ten Championship
Michigan 7/4
Ohio State 7/4
Michigan State 7/1
Iowa 9/1
Nebraska 9/1
Wisconsin 14/1
Penn State 18/1
Northwestern 33/1
Minnesota 40/1
Illinois 50/1
Indiana 50/1
Maryland 50/1
Purdue 100/1
Rutgers 100/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Big 12 Championship
Oklahoma 2/3
Oklahoma State 5/1
TCU 5/1
Baylor 8/1
Texas 17/2
West Virginia 12/1
Kansas State 33/1
Texas Tech 33/1
Iowa State 100/1
Kansas 250/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Conference USA Championship
Southern Miss 9/4
Marshall 11/4
Western Kentucky 7/2
Middle Tennessee 5/1
Louisiana Tech 6/1
FAU 16/1
Rice 20/1
UTEP 25/1
FIU 33/1
Charlotte 100/1
North Texas 100/1
UTSA 100/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the MAC Conference Championship
Western Michigan 5/2
Northern Illinois 11/2
Toledo 11/2
Bowling Green 13/2
Akron 15/2
Central Michigan 15/2
Ohio 15/2
Buffalo 14/1
Kent State 14/1
Miami (Ohio) 18/1
Ball State 40/1
Eastern Michigan 100/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Mountain West Conference Championship Game
Boise State 5/4
San Diego State 11/4
San Jose State 10/1
Air Force 15/2
Utah State 10/1
Colorado State 12/1
Nevada 12/1
New Mexico 18/1
Fresno State 33/1
UNLV 33/1
Hawaii 50/1
Wyoming 50/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Pac 12 North Division
Stanford 8/5
Washington 7/4
Oregon 3/1
Washington State 13/2
California 10/1
Oregon State 50/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Pac 12 South Division
UCLA 7/5
USC 7/4
Utah 5/1
Arizona State 13/2
Arizona 15/2
Colorado 20/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the Pac 12 Championship Game
Stanford 3/1
UCLA 7/2
Washington 4/1
Oregon 11/2
USC 11/2
Utah 12/1
Washington State 14/1
Arizona 20/1
Arizona State 20/1
California 22/1
Colorado 50/1
Oregon State 50/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the SEC East Division
Tennessee 4/5
Georgia 2/1
Florida 9/2
Missouri 16/1
Kentucky 25/1
South Carolina 25/1
Vanderbilt 25/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the SEC West Division
Alabama 4/5
LSU 9/4
Auburn 7/1
Ole Miss 12/1
Arkansas 14/1
Texas A&M 14/1
Mississippi State 20/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to win the SEC Championship
Alabama 7/4
LSU 7/2
Tennessee 7/2
Georgia 9/1
Ole Miss 10/1
Texas A&M 16/1
Auburn 18/1
Florida 18/1
Arkansas 20/1
Kentucky 50/1
Missouri 50/1
Mississippi State 50/1
South Carolina 66/1
Vanderbilt 100/1

NCAA Football 2016 Season – Odds to Win the Sun Belt Championship
Appalachian State 9/4
Arkansas State 9/4
Georgia Southern 5/2
UL Lafayette 8/1
Troy 10/1
Georgia State 14/1
Idaho 25/1
South Alabama 25/1
New Mexico State 33/1
UL Monroe 40/1
Texas State 100/1

UAB unveils plans for covered practice facility, football operations center

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - OCTOBER 25:  Head Coach Bill Clark of the UAB Blazers claps for his team as the run onto the field during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on October 25, 2014 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks defeated the Blazers 45-17.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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UAB football is back, and soon the Blazers will have the construction cranes to prove it.

On Friday the Blazers announced a title sponsorship to a new $22.5 million football operations center that will include offices, meeting and film rooms, locker rooms, weight rooms, training facility and practice fields — including one covered by a pavilion.

“The impact this generous sponsorship has already had and will have on our program cannot be overstated,” head coach Bill Clark said in a statement. “It allowed us to expand the scope of the project to build the facility we need, and it will greatly accelerate our competitiveness on the field and on the recruiting trail. We will be proud to practice every day under the Legacy name, which will serve as a reminder that we are fighting for a community that is behind us.”

Legacy Community Federal Credit Union is footing the bill for title sponsorship at $4.2 million spread over 20 years. In a nice bit of synergy, the bank was founded by UAB employees for UAB employees.

“While this most recent sponsorship will produce an immediate impact for UAB Football, it is really just the next logical extension of the longstanding relationship between Legacy and UAB,” said Legacy President and CEO Joe McGee. “Since UAB had the vision to charter us, and is the largest employer and most dynamic economic driver in the state, we believe an investment in UAB will yield returns for Legacy members and for the entire community.”

The plan is for the facility to be up and running in time for the Blazers to re-join Conference USA in the fall of 2017.

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(Renderings courtesy of UAB athletics)

College football continues growing at multiple levels

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 04:  A detail of a Nike official NCAA size football as it sits in the end zone while the West Virginia Mountaineers stretchon the field prior to playing against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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This fall college football will be played on more campuses than ever before thanks to the addition of five programs, including two at the NCAA Division II level.

According to the National Football Foundation, the addition of Cincinnati Christian University, Davenport University (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Morthland College (West Frankfort, Ill.), the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (Odessa) and the University of West Florida (Pensacola), there will be 774 college football teams in 2016, the most on record.

West Florida and UT-Permian Basin are in the NCAA’s Division II while CCU and Davenport are in the NAIA and Morthland College’s affiliation is TBA.

The schools come from three distinct regions of the country, including football hotbeds of Florida, Texas and Ohio.

If the name and town of the newest college football program in Texas ring a bell, there’s good reason. Odessa is the home of the Permian Panthers, the high school program immortalized in H.G. Bissinger’s 1990 book, Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream.

Per the NFF, three more programs are set to come online next year, including the return of UAB as a member of Conference USA in the FBS.

“With more than one million high school students playing football and more than 70,000 spots on college teams, there is plenty of room for expansion,” said NFF chairman Archie Manning in a statement. “Many of these colleges clearly recognize that football can play an important role in encouraging students to continue their educations by enticing them to enroll.”

Last year saw the addition of four new programs, including FCS members East Tennessee State and Kennesaw State (Georgia).

In all, 42 programs have launched at various levels since 2010.

As revenues rise in Power 5, C-USA sees revenue in freefall

HUNTINGTON, WV - DECEMBER 06: Rakeem Cato #12 of the Marshall Thundering Herd and head coach Doc Holliday celebrate defeating the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 26-23 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium after the Conference USA championship game on December 6, 2014 in Huntington, West Virginia.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Power 5 conferences have never been richer. That doesn’t mean business is easy for everyone in college sports, though.

According to a report from Harry Minium of the Virginian-Pilot, Conference USA is in line to receive $2.8 million — total — from its 2016-17 television contracts. Keep in mind Texas will earn more than $40 million on its own next year, with the entirety of the Big Ten and SEC soon to follow.

Conference USA received $9.95 million in fees from CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports this year and another $6.15 million in exit fees from schools leaving for the American Athletic Conference, but each of those revenue streams is set to dry by the fall.

Due to incredibly unfortunate timing, C-USA had to return to the negotiating table at a time sports networks are in between the bubble of the cable explosion and whatever comes next in the digital world. The result is C-USA returns to ESPN and its fire hose of much-needed exposure, but at a substantially reduced rate. The league will also be found on CBS Sports Network, beIN Sports and the American Sports Network.

“Right now, the television market is horrible,” C-USA commissioner Judy McLeod said. “The pool of money that’s there is going to the big guys.”

According to Minium, C-USA’s $200,000 per school media rights distribution ranks ninth in FBS, trailing each of the Power 5 schools along with the AAC ($2 million per), the Mountain West ($1.7 million) and the MAC ($670,000) but ahead of the Sun Belt ($100,000).